As soon as the toss went in favour of MS Dhoni, he promptly chose to field. “Some rain forecast,” he said. The Rising Pune Supergiants have not had the best of times dealing with the Duckworth-Lewis method this season.
Their loss in the previous game to Kolkata Knight Riders after rain curtailed the contest had drawn a sharp reaction from coach Stephen Fleming, who lambasted the DLS method. Rain followed Pune to Visakhapatnam as they faced Delhi Daredevils at the ACA-VDCA stadium on Tuesday.
Fielding first, Pune reversed the fortunes from the game in Kolkata. Pacer Ashok Dinda and leg-spinner Adam Zampa once again came to the fore, scalping three wickets apiece to restrict Delhi to 121 for six. Pune’s response was impressive as they reached 76 for one in 11 overs to be ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis rule when rain interrupted for the second time and forced the match to be called off.
Delhi made three changes to their side, keeping with their practice of tinkering with the playing XI. Skipper Zaheer Khan left out spinners Imran Tahir and Shahbaz Nadeem, opting for a more pace-centric bowling attack.
However, their batting struggled before their bowlers come into the picture. Pune’s bowlers were quite at ease on the track with both their pacers and spinners finding some help from the wicket.
Dinda opened the floodgates in the third over with the wicket of the dangerous Quinton de Kock. He followed it up by cramping the other opener, Shreyas Iyer, who was hurried into a mis-timed pull shot that went straight to the fielder.
Zampa, who had a six-wicket haul in his side’s previous game at the venue, continued his great run in Visakhapatnam. The Australian joined the party and removed Delhi’s three young batsmen, Karun Nair (41), Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant.
Dinda returned to bring an end to JP Duminy’s innings and finish off the middle-order. A late push by Chris Morris (38 no) took them to a competitive total.
In reply, Pune got off to a solid start, with openers Ajinkya Rahane and Usman Khawaja playing assured knocks.
Delhi though pulled things back by sending back Khawaja. The batsman next up – George Bailey – was welcomed to the crease by a short delivery from Nathan Coulter-Nile. It rose sharply and struck his helmet and dislodged it.
At that stage, Delhi looked like they could pull the game back, but the rain intervened first with Pune on 57 for one. Delhi are among the contenders for a place in the playoffs.